You may remember Baloo singing, "Now when you pick a pawpaw, or a prickly pear, and you prick a raw paw, next time beware..." from Disney’s The Jungle Book. The amicable bear references this fruit while reminding Mowgli of "the bare necessities," but what exactly is a "pawpaw" in the first place?
Those who are familiar with pawpaw geography might realize that Baloo was probably referring to a papaya ("pawpaw" doubles a nickname), since the North American pawpaw grows in a temperate woodland climate.
Similar to Baloo’s papaya, the North American pawpaw is a mango-like fruit. In fact, it is "the only temperate member of a tropical family of trees," as well as the largest edible fruit that is native to the U.S.
The pawpaw is native to 26 U.S. states, spanning from northern Florida to Maine, as well as west to Nebraska.
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